Safety top priority as Cornell range reopens
The Cornell Public Shooting Range, located on State Hwy. 64, is slated to open for use Monday, July 6.
Scott Bowe, DNR warden team supervisor, says the range has undergone renovations and additions since 2014, when issues first began to arise.
“We ended up having the NRA come in and do an inspection of the range,” said Bowe. “The back berms weren’t built quite right the first time.”
Bowe says the berms were starting to slump and there were problems with rounds skipping out of the range.
He says a lot of people were also shooting handguns at the time and placing their targets, meaning the bullets were not hitting the back berms of the range, instead hitting the floor of the range and skipping out of the range.
“That’s why we ended up doing the 25-yard range over there,” said Bowe. “We just kind of on the fly decided we needed to build something that was specifically for people who wanted to come out and shoot handguns.”
Bowe says the range got a $15,000 grant from the NRA and the City of Cornell donated fill. They also got a matching grant from the DNR to fund repairs to the existing range and building the new, handgun range.
He also says Mike Schoonover and Gerald Roth did a lot of the work to make the range what it is.
“They’re the guys who have been out here putting all the work into these nice benches and the shelters,” said Bowe.
Bowe says the project cost $50,000-60,000, to repair the berms, update the shooting benches, update the shelters and build the handgun range. He also says a culvert that was shot up so often it collapsed, was re-routed.
“This part wasn’t too bad,” said Bowe, referring to the process for fixing the existing ranges.
He says the part they had issues with, was finding acceptable materials that would not slouch for the handgun range berms. Bowe says it took multiple tries to get the back berm to stay standing.
As the range is prepared to reopen, Bowe wants to stress the rules of the public range. He says he wants people to be safe, courteous and considerate when they are shooting at the range.
“Any targets set out here have to be within 10 feet of the back berm,” said Bowe. “Bullets have to hit the back berm.”
He says a bullet skipping out of the range and hurting someone, or damaging property, is what could close the range down the fastest.
Bowe also says only paper targets should be used at the ranges and all trash should be carried out by those who brought it in.
“People, they bring batteries and cans, and bottles and anything they want to shoot at, they bring out here and shoot, and then leave it,” said Bowe, adding litter is one of the biggest problems he sees at the range.
Bowe also stressed that the cables and orange poles used for target holders should not be targeted.
“We were hoping these posts would last us a few years, and one got shot off in weeks,” said Bowe.
He suggested attaching paper targets to the target holders with clothes pins.
He says people from all over the county, as well as people passing through the area, use the range. Bowe says hunter education students and law enforcement can also use the range for training. He says there are not many public ranges in the state managed by the DNR, so it is important everyone follows the posted rules in order for people to continue to be able to use the resource.
“This range gets a lot of use,” said Bowe.
Bowe also says he would like to get a few more people involved with maintaining the range. Volunteers would do tasks such as cutting the grass and brush on the berms, picking up litter and monitoring the target lines. Any individuals or organizations interested in volunteering, can call Bowe at 715-239-6789.[caption id="attachment_71018" align="alignnone" width="300"] A 25-yard shooting range, made specifically for people wishing to shoot handguns, is a new addition to the Cornell Public Shooting Range. The range is scheduled to reopen Monday, July 6. People who use the range are reminded to keep safety in mind and follow the rules posted at the site. Photo by Julia Wolf[/caption]